US Conservative temple looks to block janitor's deportation

Watch: Mount Kisko's Temple Bet Torah rallies for illegal immigrant employed as janitor. ' He's a member of our communal family'.

Tzvi Lev ,

Synagogue (stock image)
Synagogue (stock image)

A Conservative Jewish community in New York is rallying behind their long-time custodian who is now facing deportation for coming to the United States illegally.

Armando Rojas has been the janitor for Mount Kisko's Temple Bet Torah in Westchester for over two decades. Rojas, who arrived in the US illegally 30 years ago, has been detained in Albany County Prison after being arrested in February.

Rojas had been suspected of being involved in a fight at a White Plains eatery. Rojas' arrest drew the attention of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who detained him over what it says was a broken commitment by Rojas to leave the US 25 years ago.

Ever since his arrest, Rojas has been held in custody while his appeal for asylum winds its way through the legal system. Rojas says that he will be in danger if he is returned to Mexico.

His case has been championed by Temple Bet Torah. On Tuesday, congregants rallied at the temple for Rojas' cause. Waving signs reading "Bring Armando Home", demonstrators called on their janitor to be shown leniency.

We need to gather as a community because a member of our communal family has been taken away,” Rabbi Aaron Brusso told CBS2.

“Over the 20 years he’s worked here, he’s beloved!" added Bet Torahs President Carol Siege.

"Most of us are here tonight because we know Armando is a good man, a hardworking man, a humble, kind and gentle man. Armando has done more than just work here. He has treated Bet Torah as his second home and our congregants as his extended family."